By Srithar Visuasam: IBO Middleweight Champion Daniel Geale takes on fellow Australian Anthony Mundine this Wednesday night at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in what is his fourth scheduled defense of his title.
At 21-0 with 13 knockouts to date, Geale has had the perfect start to his boxing career. Anthony Mundine, former two-time WBA super middleweight champion and current WBA #1 middleweight contender, shapes up as clearly his biggest challenge to date in his professional career..
The fight has generated tremendous hype down under and only days away from the showdown, the champ took a few moments to talk to Eastside Boxing to discuss the upcoming fight and career of ‘The Real Deal’.
Eastside Boxing: Daniel, how’s things? There’s been a lot of hype about your fight this Wednesday night with Anthony Mundine? How’s it all going for you?
Daniel Geale: Yeah it’s been good. I’ve been just doing my thing, concentrating on myself, getting ready for this one.
ESB: How has the preparation been for the fight?
DG: We have been training hard. We have stepped things up from when we first got word we were fighting him. Been fully focused for a long time, the training camp was one of the hardest I’ve been through and I feel really good. Feel as fit and strong as I’ve ever been. I didn’t have much of a rest since my fight with Ian McKillop (March 11).
The fight (finalisation of bout) went a little bit faster than we expected, so I’ve just pretty much kept myself really busy. My fitness for a long time has been really high and I’m pretty much peaking right at the moment.
ESB: How long has this fight been in the works?
DG: It’s been a while…they have known we have been interested in the fight for a long time now, a very long time. From the end of last year, things starting rolling along a lot more…and from the time I had my last fight, things started to come together.
ESB: Who are some of the fighters you have been sparring with in preparation for the fight?
DG: I’ve had some good sparring partners for the lead up to this fight. I was doing a lot of rounds from Robert Medley from our gym, the Grange Gym, who has been boxing real well. I’ve done a fair few rounds with Sakio Bika, I’ve done a few rounds with Lenny Zappavigna, to concentrate on a bit of speed.
We had an American fighter come over as a sparring partner, Daniel Edouard (WBA #8 middleweight). I’ve had some good training partners and some good people to push me along.
ESB: Have you chosen your sparring partners to cater to the style of Anthony Mundine?
DG: We’ve been mixing it up a bit. It’s boxing, you gotta expect a little bit of anything. We know what Mundine can do; it’s going to depend on how things pan out on Wednesday night.
ESB: You are the current IBO champion, though are quite an underdog going into this fight, does that impact your mindset going into such a fight?
DG: I’m happy to be the underdog. Given I am the champion, being the underdog is a good thing. You go through a lot of hype and attention with him and I’m happy for him to do that.
I’m just going to go about my business. This is my job, this is what I do. I just go about my business and concentrate on myself and let him worry about gaining attention and saying silly things in the media. I just let my hands do the talking come Wednesday night.
ESB: Anthony Mundine is the most talked about boxer in Australia. What are you thoughts of his ability as a boxer and how are you approaching this fight?
DG: You gotta respect what he can do. He’s a very quick fighter; he has very fast hands and is pretty good on his feet. He can do a few good things. It’s not going to be an easy fight by any means; I mean we are not approaching it as an easy fight.
But in saying that, he does have a few weaknesses that we are going to exploit. I’m sure that he is probably thinking the same thing about me. I think also he’s probably underestimated me a fair bit, which keeps me in that underdog category, which I’m happy to be in.
ESB: What would you say has been your biggest achievement in your career to date – winning the 2002 gold medal in the Commonwealth Games or defeating Daniel Dawson for the IBO middleweight title in late 2007?
DG: Both. They are both two really huge things in my boxing career. It is really hard to sort of separate. The Commonwealth Games really meant a lot, it was the first really big tournament that I won at the amateurs and gave me a lot of confidence in the things that I was doing. Coming over to the pros, I’ve got new goals now.
ESB: How has your professional career been so far and being the IBO world middleweight champion?
DG: It’s been great, it’s been awesome. I think we’ve taken the right steps, we never wanted to rush things. My management and I decided that we wanted to do things properly; we wanted to take the right steps at the right time. And we believe this is absolutely perfect for us (bout with Mundine). Possibly a bit surprised that Mundine took the fight, but we were very happy about it too.
ESB: You’ve fought your entire career at middleweight, what are your goals that you have set yourself within in the division?
DG: My goals are to fight the best fighters and beat the best fighters in the world. Whether that’s then WBC, WBA, IBF, my goals are to beat the best fighters.
ESB: Assuming you beat Mundine on Wednesday night, who would you like to face next?
DG: That’s something I’d have to sit down with my management and talk about. They’ve been in talks with a couple of the champions in Germany and have also had people in the US that they’ve been talking to. I’m comfortable to sit down after the fight and discuss which direction we are going to take but at the moment I’m fully focused on this next fight and I’m not really worried on who I will be fighting after that. I’ll take one at a time.
ESB: Just a couple of questions on a broader scale, who is your favourite active boxer on the world scene?
DG: At the moment? Geez, I’ve got a lot of favourite boxers, to narrow it down to one…it’s hard to go past Manny Pacquiao at the moment.
ESB: Who got you into the sport and who was your idol growing up in the world of boxing?
My Dad got me into the sport pretty much. I’ve always looked up to Dad, he actually trained me for a number of years growing up. I’ve looked up to Jeff Fenech as I was growing up and fighters like Kostya Tszyu and Oscar De La Hoya.
ESB: What sort of sports did you play growing up or has it always just been boxing?
DG: It hasn’t always been boxing. Growing up, I had a go at everything. I used to love playing all sport. I used to enjoy playing Aussie rules footy; I played that until I was 16. I used to play a bit of cricket, tennis, do a few triathlons.
ESB: You are originally from Tasmania, how has the support been from your hometown throughout your career?
DG: People in Tassie have supported me for a number of years. From back in the amateur days, the Tassie media have been awesome. Every time I come down to Tassie, they put me in the paper or on the news. Now I’m really starting to feel it, they’ve been very supportive.
We get heaps of people coming up from Tasmania, a lot of old friends and school mates, a lot of my family, it’s a huge thing.
ESB: Thanks for your time Daniel. In closing, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans at boxing247.com?
DG: Just want to say thanks for the support. I’m going hard, making sure I bring back some big titles.